The first-ever e-votes in the country were polled on Sunday during the elections to six municipal corporations in Gujarat. It was for the first time that any state election commission allowed on-line polling.
The response to the introduction of new polling system, however, was not very encouraging with few people opting to vote on-line.
"124 e-votes were polled on Sunday in the elections to six municipal corporations," State Election Commission secretary P S Shah told PTI.
A total of 182 e-voters were registered with the SEC from Ahmedabad, Sruat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar before the start of the polls, Shah added.
SEC has spent around Rs 34 crore to develop the on-line voting system by roping in Tata Consultancy Service, out of which Rs 15 crore was spent for data centre and software.
Explaining the system of e-voting, K C Kapoor, chief of SEC said that for casting of e-votes, a voter would first need to register himself by personally visiting the SEC office where he would be given a special password. For voting, he should go the SEC website and log on by using the password.
The voter will then have to submit his desire for voting after which he will be given a code on his registered mobile phone number by way of SMS and once he enters that code, the e-ballot paper will open on his computer screen.
Then the voter needs only to click against the name of the candidate whom he wants to vote and submit it. The response to the on-line voting was not as per the expectations of the SEC with only 387 voters from six municipal corporations registering for it out of which only 182 qualified.
SEC is of the opinion that though the response from voters was poor, this is a good start and more people would opt for it after finding the system is reliable.
"This is an asset created by SEC for future and we expect more and more people to come forward for on-line voting as it will be convenient," Shah said. "The system developed by us with the help of TCS can also be used by other states to conduct transparent on-line voting," he added.
The counting of e-votes for the six municipal corporation elections will also be conducted on Tuesday along with votes polled via the traditional method.
Madhav Vyas, a student from Rajkot studying in a college in Mumbai exercised his franchise by using on-line polling system.
"I logged on to my account and successfully voted from here (Mumbai). The system is very good as I did not have to waste time to go all the way to Rajkot for casting my vote," Vyas said.
The elections for six municipal corporations in Gujarat passed off peacefully with more than 40 per cent voting registered.
After the initial lackluster response from electorates, voting picked up in the afternoon in almost all the municipal corporations and it went above 40 per cent, officials of the state elections commission said.
"In Ahmedabad municipal corporation elections the estimated voting was between 40 to 43 per cent, In Surat it was 42 to 45 per cent, Rajkot 40 to 42, Vadodara 44 to 47, Bhavnagar 40 to 43 and in Jamnagar it was 47 to 50 per cent," Secretary of State Election Commission P S Shah said.
The exact figure of voting will be known after compilation of all the data, he said.
"Overall the elections passed off peacefully except a few incidents of EVM malfunctioning. But we got faulty EVMs immediately changed and voting in such booths continued," chief of SEC, K C Kapoor said.
Senior leaders of both Congress and BJP exercised their franchise which include L K Advani, Narendra Modi, and Narhari Amin. There were reports of heated exchange of words between workers and candidates of different parties from Ahmedabad, other than that the election passed off peacefully in the city, district administration sources said.